How to Move in a Wheelchair

Happy Valentine’s day.

This is opinion. I do not have enough evidence to back up my point, but I want to put it out there anyway. Please: argue whatever you feel you need to.

I pride myself in figuring out how to use a wheelchair basically on my own. I have had a few friends over the years that have required one temporarily, but I really have had minimal to no exposure before two years ago.

The first thing I had to figure out was the optimal way to propel myself forward. It seems like an obvious task, but like running, there is a right way and a less optimal way.

The major thing is hand placement. It is best to pull from the back of the wheel and push to the front. Too often, I see people pushing from the middle or the front. The issue with that hand placement is that there is no force behind the push.

The best way to demonstrate this would be regarding a lid on a jar. If you know where the end of the thread is, you would not start your twist there. There would be no torque if you did.

Do not think that I do not get it. Placing your hands further along the tire allows for slower speeds, greater control, and a much lower chance of accidentally wheelie-ing. With greater control comes easier turning. It is a great tool to use for crowded places or crowded halls. For traveling, however, pulling from the back just makes more sense.

Take everything I say with a grain of salt. Like I previously stated, I taught myself and am NO professional on the idea. I will say that nothing frustrates me more than watching someone who might be in a wheelchair for a while not realizing physics. Really, that is what it comes down to: A combination of physics and common sense.

My initial plan was to have pictures to demonstrate what I am trying to say, but could never organize someone to give up an hour to take pictures of it.


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